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[muhl-ti-lat-er-uh l] /ˌmʌl tɪˈlæt ər əl/
having several or many sides; many-sided.
participated in by more than two nations, parties, etc.; multipartite:
multilateral agreements on disarmament.
Origin of multilateral
1690-1700; multi- + lateral
Related forms
multilateralism, noun
multilateralist, adjective, noun
multilaterally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for multilateral
  • Foundations, for example, usually cover the start-up costs of a multilateral program but don't want to be long-term supporters.
  • Model education, social, and environment programs are underway with support from multilateral development organizations.
  • As a result, the report notes, more avenues for multilateral research collaboration are opening up.
  • It's obvious that conservation takes a backseat to political and economic influences when dealing with multilateral agreements.
  • multilateral possession of nuclear weapons would discourage, not encourage, aggression.
  • The emphasis should still be on orderly multilateral arrangements rather than unilateral action.
  • Some advocates are calling for an increase in global health funding from global and multilateral donors.
  • No high level envoys were sent to ward off the crisis or to mediate, and no multilateral diplomatic initiative was launched.
  • The first is that this could mark the beginning of a better multilateral economic system.
  • Trade experts declared the trade talks dead and fretted about the future of the multilateral system.
British Dictionary definitions for multilateral


/ˌmʌltɪˈlætərəl; -ˈlætrəl/
of or involving more than two nations or parties: a multilateral pact
having many sides
Derived Forms
multilaterally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for multilateral

also multi-lateral, 1690s, in geometry, "having many sides," from multi- + Latin latus (genitive lateris) "side" (see oblate (n.)). Figurative use by 1748. Meaning "pertaining to three or more countries" is from 1802. Related: Multilaterally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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